Introduction

The MChem degree at the University of Aberdeen is a 5 year programme accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and leading to the professional qualification of Chartered Chemist.

This programme is studied on campus.

Chemistry is a core science that is not only the very essence of life, but is also concerned with the quality of life and its continuing improvement.

The BSc (Honours) degree is the traditional route to a chemistry qualification. It involves four years of full time study (although direct entry into second year is possible for well qualified applicants, and all four years may be undertaken part time).

This degree was instigated about 10 years ago at the request of employers and the RSC to provide graduates with a wider range of skills (including transferable skills and more research experience) than those in the BSc (Hons).

A feature of all of these programmes is a final year 4-month research project placement in the area of specialisation, usually at an overseas university, research institute or industrial laboratory. The MChem is seen as the flagship degree, and entry into the final two years is dependent on achieving at least an upper second class Honours level of performance in third year.

Chemistry graduates are very employable because a degree in chemistry opens many opportunities in areas such as drug development, environmental protection, food chemistry, petroleum chemistry, forensic science and materials development.

Degree marketing image

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MChem
Duration
60 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
F105

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

You will study introductory courses in Chemistry, alongside other courses which need not necessarily be science related.

Compulsory Courses

Chemistry for the Physical Sciences 1 (CM1021) - 15 Credit Points

The fundamentals of chemistry are important across the physical sciences and engineering. Starting with atomic structure and the Periodic Table, this course moves on to chemical bonding theory, building to the structure of organic molecules. Moving from the molecular level, acid-base theories, phase equilibria and solution chemistry are covered. The properties of ideal and non-ideal gases are then discussed. The energetics of chemical processes completes the course.

Teaching includes lectures and class workshops that put chemical concepts into a real-world context. Laboratory classes introduce important practical techniques, with experiments that support and complement the taught material.

View detailed information about this course

Elements of Chemistry 1 (CM1022) - 15 Credit Points

This course will inspire students to investigate the scope and power of chemistry and to develop the necessary skills for success in undergraduate Chemistry and beyond. Students will develop an appreciation of the essentially limitless scope of chemistry in understanding and controlling the material world. Students will also become more confident learners - in particular developing competences in literacy and numeracy, communication, data collection, analysis and interpretation, discussion and presentation of complex ideas and laboratory methods.

By getting to know other students studying chemistry and finding out about lecturers’ research interests, students will feel more part of the Chemistry team.

View detailed information about this course

Chemistry for the Physical Sciences 2 (CM1513) - 15 Credit Points

Chemistry plays a central role in modern science and engineering, not only because of the insights it gives on the composition, properties, and reactivity of matter but also because of its wide-ranging applications. This course seeks to consolidate some of the important fundamentals of chemistry that underlie many topics and principles across the physical sciences and engineering, bringing together molecular structure, reaction mechanisms, the driving forces behind chemical reactions, and methods of chemical analysis and structure determination.

Workshops and laboratory classes complement lectures by consolidating learning and developing problem-solving and hands-on practical skills.

View detailed information about this course

Elements of Chemistry 2 (CM1522) - 15 Credit Points

This course aims to encourage students to integrate their knowledge in chemistry and apply basic knowledge to more complex but widely applicable topics in chemistry and to further develop the skills for success in undergraduate Chemistry and beyond.

Students will develop an appreciation of the interconnected nature of the traditional branches of chemistry thus enhancing their confidence in using their basic chemistry knowledge. Lectures, workshops and directed reading will introduce and discuss a range of topics including some historical background and present day theories and applications of fundamental topics in Chemistry.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Energetics of Change in Chemical and Biological Processes (CM2010) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers key concepts in physical chemistry which underpin our understanding and ability to control chemical and biological processes. The principal points include thermodynamics (enthalpy, entropy and free energies), chemical kinetics (zero, 1st and 2nd order reactions, rate laws and half-lives and the relationship of rate laws to reaction mechanisms), and basic principles of electrochemistry (redox chemistry and the Nernst equation). A strong emphasis on calculations helps students get to grips with the course material and develops numeracy skills. Laboratory experiments support and complement the taught material.

View detailed information about this course

Analytical Methods in Forensic Chemistry (CM2011) - 15 Credit Points

Has a suspect been at a crime scene? Has an accelerant been used in a fire incident? These questions can be solved by using modern analytical methods, which can determine trace element patterns or the presence of a compound used to start a fire. The course covers the underlying theory for identification and determination of, for example, drugs of abuse using structure determination by spectroscopic methods like UV, IR, NMR, mass spectrometry and chromatographic separations. Atomic spectrometry is covered for trace metal determination. In practical classes, students get hands-on training with modern analytical instrumentation, with experiments in a forensic context.

View detailed information about this course

Organic and Biological Chemistry (CM2514) - 15 Credit Points

Modern organic and biological chemistry comprise the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds, which are natural (e.g. foods, fuel, perfumes) as well as synthetic (e.g. soaps, textile fabrics, pharmaceuticals). This course investigates some key areas in organic chemistry: shape, conformation, stereochemistry, and chemical properties of organic and biological compounds. Reactions and reactivity of aliphatic derivatives, olefins and aromatic compounds will be considered with particular reference to spatial and electronic effects. The experiments performed in the lab will help students understand key organic concepts and develop their synthetic/analytical skills.

View detailed information about this course

Shapes, Properties and Reactions of Molecules (CM2516) - 15 Credit Points

This course investigates some key areas of inorganic chemistry. An introduction to simple crystal structure types is given and important solid state materials such as high temperature superconductors, photocatalysts and zeolites are described. The concept of symmetry is introduced. Redox chemistry is developed in terms of Latimer, Frost and Ellingham diagrams: their applications in modern technology and industry are emphasised, including batteries, fuel cells, corrosion, electrolysis and water purification. The key properties of transition metal complexes - shapes, colours and magnetism are described and analysed in terms of crystal field theory. Laboratory experiments are closely tied to the lecture materials.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice

Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

General Chemistry (CM3032) - 5 Credit Points

This module will help students refresh their knowledge of the first two years of study in chemistry and help them to prepare for the general exam papers in fourth year. There are no taught classes, but students are given four assessed homework exercises spread throughout the academic year.

View detailed information about this course

Inorganic and Solid State Chemistry (CM3037) - 30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the fascinating properties of inorganic materials through a series of lectures, tutorials and laboratory experiments. An introduction to crystallography and crystal diffraction is given. The students will also learn about solid state synthesis and the properties of important solid state materials such as high temperature superconductors, zeolites and ferroelectric materials. An introduction to the chemistry of transition metals and main group elements will be given.

Students will gain hands on experience in powder X-ray diffraction and will synthesise some of the key materials described within the course during the laboratory practicals.

View detailed information about this course

Environmental Chemistry (CM3038) - 15 Credit Points

This advanced course describes, through a series of lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals, how state-of-the-art and conventional analytical techniques can be used to characterise environmental processes. Important chemical processes which impact the environment in which we live will be described. These include ozone generation and depletion in the atmosphere, an introduction to xenobiotics and the importance of metals in biomolecules.

Students will get the opportunity to use state-of-the-art analytical instruments, including chromatographic systems and trace element analysers during the laboratory practicals.

View detailed information about this course

Organic and Biological Chemistry (CM3534) - 30 Credit Points

This course introduces important fundamentals of organic chemistry. You will gain a firm grounding in NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry which are vital analytical tools to determine if the correct organic molecule has been synthesised. Biological chemistry such as DNA/RNA and genome sequencing will be introduced. Organic synthesis lectures will concentrate on chemistry of the carbonyl group, aromatic synthesis and pericyclic reactions.

Students will gain expertise in the synthesis of a number of different organic compounds such as dyes, compounds that change colour with temperature and an antibiotic during the laboratory practicals which accompany this course.

View detailed information about this course

Molecular Structure and Reactivity (CM3536) - 30 Credit Points

This course deals with important aspects of physical chemistry through a series of lectures, tutorials and laboratory experiments. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of spectroscopy and will gain an understanding of the nature of chemical bonding. An introduction to the thermodynamics and applications of electrochemical systems will be given. We will show how variables such as pressure and temperature affect reaction rates and how this can lead to a better understanding of reaction mechanisms, in particular, industrially important polymerization reactions. The chemistry of liquid and solid surfaces will also be described with examples relating to the petrochemical industry.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice

Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Chemistry 1 (CM4025) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

View detailed information about this course

Advanced Chemistry 2 (CM4026) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

View detailed information about this course

Mchem Group Practical (CM4036) - 15 Credit Points

The aim of this first half-session course is to provide a combination of research experience and group work via research-focused group activities involving experiment planning, teamwork and the collection, sharing and interpretation of data. The group, in consultation with the supervisors, will develop a project plan where the overall aim and the objectives of the individual students are established. The development of a variety of transferrable skills is an important feature of this module, including working in a team, project planning, the presentation of results, time management, report writing and verbal communication.

View detailed information about this course

Advanced Chemistry 3 (CM4518) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

View detailed information about this course

Advanced Chemistry 4 (CM4519) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

View detailed information about this course

Integrated Chemistry (CM4521) - 5 Credit Points

This module aims to help students assimilate materials studied at different points during the whole undergraduate Chemistry degree programme. Students will find this module particularly useful in helping them prepare for the general exam papers. The course consists of a series of written exercises and workshops, held in the second half session, covering material studied in the earlier years of the course. The workshops are intended to review fundamental topics and ideas in the context of the more advanced material studied at Honours level. Course assessment will include written homework and a short oral exam.

View detailed information about this course

Mchem Research Project (CM4535) - 30 Credit Points

The level-4 individual research project for MChem students runs in the second half-session and affords students opportunities to learn modern research techniques and to develop some expertise in the topic of their project. As far as possible, projects are allocated in accordance with student preferences. Every project has a named supervisor and there is considerable scope for students to use their initiative in experimental design and interpretation of results. The development of a variety of transferrable skills is an important feature of this module, including project planning, presentation of results, time management, report writing and verbal communication.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice
Year 5

Year 5

MChem personal project takes 6 months and is usually undertaken at a partner university in Europe, in an industrial laboratory or departmental research group.

Compulsory Courses

Mchem Chemistry Applications (CM5003) - 60 Credit Points

The module consists of three main components including lecture courses chosen to reflect a broad range of advanced topics in chemistry and assessed by examination. These courses are complemented by a number of workshops describing advanced research techniques again drawing from examples across the breadth of chemistry and these are continuously assessed. The workshops involve distinguished visiting lecturers. The final component involves a number of workshops focussed on topics such as how to analyse and critique papers drawn from the literature, how to critically assess research proposals and discussions of topical case studies involving matters of research ethics.

View detailed information about this course

Mchem Half Year Project Placement (CM5505) - 60 Credit Points

In the second half of Level 5, students gain research experience in a professional research environment, normally in a laboratory on mainland Europe. These projects extend from January to April and students may obtain additional funding from the Erasmus scheme to cover their extra costs associated with living abroad. Students may undertake their placement further afield, for example in North America or Australia, or within Aberdeen, subject to individual circumstances. Students undertake a comprehensive literature review on the topic of their project during the first half-session. The project placement is at the heart of the MChem and richly enhances employability.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Chemistry?

  • There is an active Student Chemistry Society, giving you the opportunity to develop your skills and connections away from the classroom.
  • The MChem degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Our teaching is research-led and all 1st year students have to opportunity to visit research labs. MChem and Honours project students work with PhD and post-doc scientists on 'world leading' and 'internationally excellent' research.
  • All lecturing staff are active researchers in one or more of the areas of research strength of the Chemistry Department: materials chemistry, biomolecular and medicinal chemistry, and environmental chemistry.
  • Innovative methods for learning and teaching ensure that students develop skills in computing and IT, problem solving, and personal skills, in addition to the core theoretical and practical principles of chemistry.
  • In the 2014 REF, our department was rated "1st in Scotland for Chemistry research impact".
  • 80% of research in chemistry was rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' at 2014 REF.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AAAB*
A Levels - ABB*
IB - 34 points, 5 at HL*
ILC - AAAAB (B2 or above required)*
*Chemistry at Grade A and another Mathematics/Science subject required.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers AAB or A Levels AAB, including a minimum of AB from Chemistry and another Science, or Mathematics subject.

Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £18,900
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Undergraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

Find out More

Careers

A Chemistry degree will prepare you for a career in Chemistry, but it can also be a stepping stone to many other opportunities. Chemistry graduates are very employable due to the breadth of career opportunities in many areas, such as:

  • drug development
  • environmental protection
  • food chemistry
  • petroleum chemistry
  • forensic science
  • materials development
  • business

Our chemistry graduates have found employment with a number of top companies, including:

  • Baker Hughes
  • Enviroco
  • Intertek
  • Scottish Government
  • Severn Trent Water

Find out more about careers in chemistry from the Royal Society of Chemistry - www.rsc.org/careers/future/your-future-chemistry

Career Opportunities

  • Corrosion Engineer
  • Drilling Fluids Specialist
  • Quality Control Chemist
  • Research Development Scientist
  • Well Integrity Analyst

Accreditation

This degree holds accreditation from

Our Experts

Head of Department
Professor Marcel Jaspars

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Image for useful fact about this Degree

1st in Scotland for Chemistry Research Impact

In the 2014 REF, our department was rated "1st in Scotland for Chemistry research impact". 

Features

Image for Chemistry Student Society
Chemistry Student Society

Chemistry Student Society

Student-led social and employability events and seminars.

Find out more
Image for Overseas Project Placement
Overseas Project Placement

Overseas Project Placement

Students may undertake their project in Europe or further afield, e.g. in North America or Australia, or within Aberdeen, subject to individual circumstances. The project placement is at the heart of the MChem and richly enhances employability.

Image for Learn from research active staff
Learn from research active staff

Learn from research active staff

Example - Two Chemistry teams at Aberdeen have developed a revolutionary new method for creating a new class of therapeutic drugs, called macrocycles, which are complex to create and can address a large number of poorly treated conditions.

Find out more

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX